Key verse: Titus 1:15
Big idea: A divided mind contaminates itself.
If a clean glove touches a contaminated surface, the glove is now contaminated. If that glove now touches your clean phone, now you have a contaminated phone. Touch that dirty phone to your clean face or watch as your toddler kisses the screen? Contamination spreads. In the Old Testament, this was a primary principle. Someone who touched something unclean was then unclean themselves until they could be purified. Lepers and the dead were literally untouchable, and those who did were for a time untouchable themselves. It is an important principle for hygiene and a good model of the pervasiveness of sin. In the New Testament, Christ shows us another angle.
When Jesus touches a leper or a corpse, their filth and death do not spread to Him. Instead, His holiness and His life spread to them. His purity is so intense that it is contagious! That is the principle that comes into play in our salvation. We come into contact with the living Jesus but instead of being contaminated by us we are purified by Him. Yet, the New Testament does not repudiate the old concept entirely. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," we are warned. In this letter to Titus, Paul warns about a divided mind. If we do something good, but do it with corrupt, unbelieving motives, then the good works we do are contaminated. All real, lasting contamination comes from the heart. It is not the food that we eat or the things that we touch which are unclean in God's sight, but the things that come from our heart.
Our text makes it plain. "Unto the pure, all things are pure," so when our hearts are right, our actions will follow God's will and when we do sin, we have forgiveness. He continues, "but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." No amount of good works can make up for a heart hostile to God. Our good works are contaminated by sinful motivations. But when Jesus in our hearts reigns, everything He touches is transformed.
Discussion idea: James warned that a double-minded person is unstable in all of his ways. How does a divided heart practically undermine our works?
Prayer focus: Pray through Psalm 139:23-24.